How to justify 1 or 2 years gap in IIM Interview?

All MBA aspirants who take a drop year to prepare for management exams like CAT or XAT dread one question of all: Explain the 1 year or 2 years gap in your resume. Why? Because candidates might not find their explanations to be worthy or good for an IIM interview.

Getting a call letter from IIM is a dream come true for all aspirants, especially if it ranks amongst the best colleges in India. It is but natural to be afraid of any question that appears as a setback question.

But the big question here is: Is it a setback? If you are an aspirant who is seeking the answer to how to explain your gap year, you are reading the right article. Keep reading to find out if the gap year in your CV matters or not.

How to justify 1 year gap year in IIM interview?

Nobody wants to have a bad experience at IIM interview. Everyone wishes to be ready to answer all questions the interview panel throws at them. So, how can you explain the drop year at IIM interview?

  • Firstly, it is not a gap year if you are attending an IIM interview in February or March but have graduated from your college in June of the previous year. It is not even counted as a one year gap period.
  • Secondly, explain to the panellists how you have invested your time in studying for the CAT exam. If you have secured a CAT percentile above 98, you are safe. There will not be any need for you to justify the drop “year’. The panellists can grill you if you have scored a CAT percentile below 94 or 95. Try to explain to the interviewers that you gave your best but things couldn’t materialize.
  • Whatever you do, be genuine with your explanation. Do not cook up a philosophical answer unrelated to the gap year.

How to justify 2 years gap in IIM interview?

The 2 years gap can be a little difficult to defend as more questions can follow depending upon your answer. The best way to justify your answer is by giving a response that reflects your intent. Explain to the interviewers why the 2 years gap was necessary.

  • Tell the panellists that you only wanted to study MBA and you were ready to study for an extra year to get admission in a top MBA college like IIM. Candidates securing a CAT percentile above 97 might not be asked for justification as their marks are self-explanatory. If the panellist asks you why you didn’t work, reply with the fact that you had no intention to do so. You want to study MBA first and then work.
  • Certification courses: It is best to get some certificate courses on management studies or similar fields if you are devoting 2 years solely to study for CAT. The certificate courses bridge the gap in your CV. You can also explain how you have tried your best to increase productivity in these 2 years of studying. However, do not try to brag about these courses as it won’t help you to prove your points.

Should I lie about my gap year?

The panellists are not going to award you marks for saying, “ I am a bad student hence the 2 years gap.” There is also no need of cooking up a story as there is a decent chance of the panellists seeing right through your lies. The best way is to reflect your intent: you wanted to study MBA from a premier institution like IIM. Explain your answer with positivity. Explain to them that these two years were extremely beneficial for you, without which you would not be attending the IIM interview now. Be clear of your thoughts and you won’t feel the need to lie about the 2 years gap in the IIM interview.

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